Fezeg Amazon Review

Best Fezeg Amazon Review

Why does my hamster bite?

Hamsters can make great little pets and they’re often purchased as a child’s “first pet” or seen as a “beginner pet”. However, if you’ve been a hamster owner or perhaps you’re a new hamster parent, you may have realised that they have an urge to bite a fair bit. From personal experience, hamsters can have quite a nasty bite, which is often sharp enough to draw blood. So, why do hamsters bite? Let’s look into the wonderful world of hamsters and discuss the possible reasons as to why they might give you a nip… or two. 

Defending themselves

Let’s put ourselves into a hamster’s fluffy shoes. Imagine you’re tucked up in your wood shavings, nibbling on your dried cereal and enjoying your little hamster life when suddenly the roof lifts off and a giant hand hovers above you. You’d be pretty spooked. A hamster’s only real defence is their mouths, as they don’t have the sharpest of claws. So, their initial instinct when they are threatened is to lash out and bite as a way of asking to be left alone.

Hamsters in the wild can be classed as a prey species, meaning that they’re often hunted by larger animals. Birds of prey including owls, kites and buzzards can all make a tasty meal out of a hamster, with the main route of attack coming from above. Hamsters have a heightened sense of defence and can easily mistake your loving hand for a buzzard’s talons. 


It could be said that a stressed hamster is more likely to bite. This can come down to their enclosure or where their enclosure is situated. A hamster should be given plenty of space, and lots of hiding opportunities within its enclosure where it can curl up and feel safe. A hamster who does not have access to adequate hiding places will most likely be on constant alert and ready to bite if it is approached. 

Similarly, if a hamster is situated in a loud and busy room, it may feel more stressed than if they were in a quieter environment. Hamsters are naturally nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and are more active during the night. Imagine you are trying to sleep, but your room is constantly loud and keeping you awake. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty cranky. 

Place a hamster cage in a low-traffic room, away from loud music and constant noise. You may notice a change in your hamster’s behaviour once they’re in a quieter location.

Hamsters are nocturnal

Hamsters are nocturnal, spending most of the day asleep. In fact, hamsters can sleep between 12 – 14 hours a day – lucky them! Hamsters are known as polyphasic, meaning that they have many sleeping episodes throughout the day. If they do not get enough sleep, or they have been woken up from one of these sleeping periods, they may give out a little nip as a way of saying “let me sleep”. Once you understand your hamster’s sleep cycle, you may be able to handle them more once they are well rested. As a general rule, if your hamster is up and active within its enclosure, it may be a better time to handle them.

Pain response

If your hamster has not bitten you before and has only just started biting, it may be an indication that something is wrong. It may be that your hamster is older, meaning that they have more pains within their limbs, such as arthritis. If your hamster lets you, stroke down its back, over its head and down each of its limbs. Notice if there is a pattern to the biting. If it only reacts to a certain area, then it may reveal that they are experiencing pain localised to that area. It may be worth a trip to the vet to see what is going on. 

Your hamster is a ‘bitey breed’ 

Did you know that there is more than one breed of hamster? There are many different breeds such as the Dwarf Roborovski, Dwarf Russian, Chinese and Syrian hamster. If you are wanting to handle your hamster without getting bitten, then it is best to avoid any dwarf breed. These are small hamsters; but are fast, agile and able to pack a mighty bite. Due to their size, they are often more defensive and protective of themselves. 

Syrian hamsters are larger and generally easier to tame. They are slower than their dwarf cousins and are less likely to bite. Syrian hamsters are usually the most popular choice of hamster to own, but be warned – they can still bite every now and then.

How to stop hamsters from biting

There are different ways in which you can try to stop your hamster from biting, however, be prepared that you may still get the odd bite no matter how tame your hamster is. It is important to have patience and earn your hamster’s trust. They need to understand that you are not a threat, and this is usually a slow process. Slowly offer your hamster a treat. It may be worth placing this in front of them so that they can pick it up. After this, see if they will take the treat from your fingers. Then progress to see if they will climb onto your hand to take it from there. Over time, see if you can start to gently stroke your hamster and attempt to desensitise them from being afraid of your hands.

Don’t be discouraged or disheartened if your hamster is constantly trying to bite you, regardless of how long you have spent earning their trust. Patience is key, and over time they should become less defensive. Especially if treats are involved!

Final thoughts on hamsters

Hamsters are interesting little creatures to say the least. It may be upsetting if you have purchased your first hamster for either yourself or your child and the hamster keeps trying to bite you. However, over time they should start to learn that you are not a threat, if you desensitise them in the correct way. Remember that there may be different reasons as to why your hamster is biting including stress, pain and self-defence. In some cases, your furry friend may just have to be admired from afar. 

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